It’s not what happens, but how you react…

It’s not what happens, but how you react...

“It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” - Epictetus

I confess, I did not know this quote came from Epictetus, but it's one I've known for a very long time. It's applicable to all of life, but so very useful in data management.

Let's face it, no matter how good we are at managing our data, we're always going to run into software bugs, data errors, bad business rules, and more. Our data is never going to be perfect. So what matters is not that something is "wrong," but how we react when we learn something is wrong.

I can't tell you how many times I've had clients say something like: "We discovered the address we have in our database for one of our board members is incorrect, so going forward we're going to manage that list in Excel."

This is a good example of overreacting to an error in data. The reality is that the data can just as easily be incorrect in Excel. And creating this shadow database actually creates more problems than it addresses.

Clean data is important, of course. But we have to acknowledge that the data will never be perfect, and our response to imperfect data needs to be proportional to the size of the error itself. How you react is what matters.

Wes's Wednesday Wisdom Archives

Clean as you go

March 28, 2019

Clean As You Go A good cook or baker knows that, when working in the […]

Baby Steps

March 21, 2019

One of the keys to developing good data management habits is to be aware of […]

Success Requires Discipline

March 14, 2019

When it comes to data management, most of us know what to do; we just don’t […]

Take a moment to be grateful

March 7, 2019

Because we’re so focused on always improving what we have now, it’s easy to overlook […]

KPIs and Dashboards

February 28, 2019

I saw DJ Muller from MemberClicks speak on KPIs (key performance indicators). In his session […]

Documenting Process is Critical

February 22, 2019

When it comes to managing data successfully, process is critical. For example, a client of […]

Motion vs. Action

February 14, 2019

In James Clear’s book Atomic Habits (I recommend it!), he discusses the concept of motion vs. action. […]

Are You Answering Your Calls?

February 7, 2019

I’ve written about this before, but apparently I have to keep repeating it. If you’ve […]

Who do you trust?

January 31, 2019

Who Do You Trust I was reading an article recently about Warren Buffet’s “rules” for […]

Set benchmarks to measure progress

January 24, 2019

It’s impossible to measure progress if you don’t know your starting point. This sounds axiomatic, […]

Scroll to Top